Sludge-a-thon tackles customer frictions
Sludge is the frustrating friction that gets in the way of a good customer experience. This year we hosted our second Sludge-a-thon where teams from NSW Government came together to use behavioural insights to improve customer experience.
- The challenge: Sludge gets in the way of a good customer experience and can stop customers from accessing the services they need and want. We work with agencies to eliminate sludge in their services to build a more customer-centric NSW Government.
- What we did: We helped teams across government reduce frictions in their process by supporting them to conduct sludge audits as part of our second Sludge-a-thon.
- Result: Teams walked away with plans and prototypes to eliminate sludge from their processes, along with new skills, connections and knowledge about behavioural insights.
Sludge makes it hard for our customers to get what they want. We need to remove sludge so NSW can be the world’s most customer-centric government by 2030. To achieve this goal, the BIU developed the 'NSW Government sludge audit' to identify and eliminate sludge.
What we did
Twelve teams across eight NSW Government clusters used the BIU’s sludge audit method to review their process and identify friction points faced by customers.
Examples of sludge identified included limited promotion and online accessibility of health services, leading to a lack of awareness and engagement by customers. Another team found that customers were accumulating hefty fines as their letters were confusing and lacked a clear call to action.
Across the two days, teams generated solutions and developed an action plan to implement their sludge-busting solutions. Participants also dived into a session on behavioural insights principles, which they used to improve their processes.
Throughout the event, facilitators and experts guided teams with insights on behavioural design, digital innovation and accessibility. Guest speaker Jo Medlin, a mentor on the SBS program Lost for Words, encouraged teams to think about customers’ literacy needs. She suggested teams review how they communicate and use images and videos to make it easier for customers with reading challenges.
Teams used what they learned to develop sludge busting solutions below
- Engaging parents early and changing appointment processes to encourage health checks for young children.
- Simplifying the application experience and promoting community benefits offered to companions of people with disability.
- Consolidating multiple forms and pre-filling details to assist businesses registering as a provider of youth sports and recreation.
What we saw
Teams left the event with sludge-busting solutions and a plan to implement these to improve the customer experience. Participants also gained knowledge on behavioural insights and skills to guide future sludge-reduction efforts. We were excited to know 82 per cent of attendees would use the sludge audit method to tackle other customer frictions.
Here's what our participants had to say:
“The event was a high energy, engaging process. It was great to have a diversity of issues and groups doing the process. “
“Thoroughly enjoyed and it’s about getting the right message to our customers at the right time without bogging them down with paperwork or jargon (sludge)”
What is next
The sludge reduction has not ended for these teams. In November we will host a Sludge Showcase, where teams will share their implementation progress and customer benefits.
Accessing the guides
To access our full set of Sludge guides and other resources, head to the BIU guides page.
Contact us to learn how you can bust sludge to improve your customers’ experience.